CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 14. . . .March 6, 2009
As the school teacher in Janet Lunn's book One Hundred Shining Candles tells his students of the marvellous sights he has seen in Christmas's past, 10-year old Lucy and her brother Dan are fascinated at the thought of "one hundred candles" lighting up a room.
The main characters in the story, Lucy and Dan, are well-meaning children wanting to surprise their parents by making one hundred candles to light up their house at Christmas. Their well laid plans go slightly awry, and young Dan comes up with a plan that delivers a happy, though not quite as spectacular, Christmas event.
The making of the candles involves some secrecy and what we would consider from our 21st century viewpoint to be very dangerous behaviour -- namely lighting fires and cooking tallow (which nearly is disastrous) and later running to a neighbour's house by crossing a frozen river. I think both incidents make for great discussions at home and in school about how childhood differs century to century. Things considered part of day-to-day life one hundred years ago are viewed warily today and perhaps vice versa.
Barbara Taylor, an Early Childhood teacher and freelance writer, is presently enrolled in the MLIS program at the University of Western Ontario.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.